Those Who Sit Above in Shadow
Those Who Sit Above in Shadow are a group of deities that feature in Marvel Comics.
Those Who Sit Above in Shadow were a mysterious group of entities with ties to the race of Asgardians. This was due to Asgard being a realm that was loved forever in a cycle of death and rebirth. At an appointed time, it underwent Ragnarok where it suffered from a final battle and was destroyed only to be reborn anew. From this cycle, Those Who Sit Above in Shadow drew energy from these events and fed off it where they were given immense power as a result. They had overseen the process countless times where they saw Asgard destroyed and reborn with each time they grew stronger. Their existence was largely unknown with them being considered a myth allowing them to watch the Asgardian affairs from the shadows. During each cycle, they revealed themselves to Odin after he had nearly gained unlimited wisdom and as such he was the only one who knew of the truth of their existence. In the most recent cycle, Odin sought to disrupt events by sending his son Thor to the land of Midgard to live among mortals as Those Who Sit Above in Shadow were not able to predict events that were not from Asgard itself. As such, they were unable to chart the actions of the King of Asgard if he was influenced by both man and god. (Thor v2 #)
By the modern age, Loki sought to curry favor of Those Who Sit Above in Shadow by performing a good deed for the mortals of Midgard. To achieve that end, he created the Firemountain that empowered passengers of a flight in Alaska. Loki then met with Those Who Sit Above in Shadow asking them to honor the bargain he had struck with them. Though they acknowledged the action, they did not feel he qualified for their favor yet and instead suggested that he perhaps learn a lesson in humility similar to what happened to his adopted brother Thor. (X-Men and Alpha Flight v1 #1)
Thor at one point sacrificed his life in order to gain the wisdom that was held by the Allfather Odin. This led to him awakening in a pitch black realm where he drew the notice of Those Who Sit Above in Shadow who believed him worthy of their blessing and recognition after he had moved beyond death. However, the rune empowered Thor stated that his new knowledge allowed him to see their true nature and motivations. He berated them on how they had made a mockery of the lives of the Asgardians by causing them to constantly die in Ragnarok only to be reborn again. They in turn dismissed him as being beneath their notice as they were far beyond his understanding and stated that Thor was not a threat to them though he responded by saying that he would move to end their cycle. (Thor v2 #84) Thor would bring about Ragnarok but he would make his way to the thread of fate that he intended to destroy to prevent any resurrection. Those Who Sit Above in Shadow appeared before him where they begged him not to destroy it as this was their means of life and offered him a place among them. However, Thor refused and he destroyed the thread thus killing Those Who Sit Above in Shadow and ending their reign. (Thor v2 #85)
When the Beyonders were destroying the Multiverse, Those Who Sit Above in Shadow were reborn as part of the new Ragnarok and appeared within the dream of Allfather Odin. They commanded the king of Asgard to slay his enemies and that they would grant any wish he desired. (Loki: Agent of Asgard v1 #14) With the final Ragnarok, Loki managed to capture the essence of the Asgardians and keep their stories with him allowing them to still live as the Multiverse collapsed. He intended to release them somewhere else though no such place existed when he was sent before Those Who Sit Above in Shadow who appeared before Loki telling him to know them. (Loki: Agent of Asgard v1 #16)
They were described as being celestial beings that fed on the great energies generated by the Asgardian lives. During each life cycle, they would feed on the events that led to the resultant Ragnarok whereupon they drew sustenance and life from this process. (Thor v2 #85)
- Those Who Sit Above in Shadow were created by Chris Claremont, Paul Smith and Bob Wiacek where they made their first appearance in X-Men and Alpha Flight v1 #1 (December 1985).
- X-Men and Alpha Flight v1: #1
- Thor v2: #85
- Loki: Agent of Asgard v1: